Caritas Asia, the relief, development and social arm of the Catholic Church in Asia has decided to develop sustainable agriculture and revive food sufficiency with the aim of boosting the income of farming communities.  Caritas representatives of 13 Asian countries recently met in a conference in Indonesia’s Ruteng Diocese and decided to develop organic farming to improve land fertility, build food sufficiency and improve people’s lives. Donor agencies, local government officials, students and activists also attended the conference.

Ruteng Diocese in East Nusa Tenggara has largely farming Catholic population of some 791,000.  In many countries, the use of chemical fertilizers for decades have damaged the environment and land fertility which have led to reduced yields, hurting the farming community. In the last three years, Ruteng Diocese has trained farmers in organic fertilizer production, through the establishment of 16 assisted groups in villages. Father Marthen Chen, director of  the Pastoral Center of Ruteng Diocese “Efforts to promote sustainable farming can work if there is synergy with other parties, including government.”, as reported by

Kamelus Deno, the head of Manggarai district, in Ruteng Diocese, said sustainable farming is one of the ways to improving a farmer’s quality of life.